UP govt directs district magistrates to ensure farmers don’t burn agricultural waste
After NGT order, UP chief secretary had directed that farmers be encouraged to make compost out of agricultural wastenoida Updated: Feb 22, 2017 12:15 IST
Uttar Pradesh special secretary (administration), NK Singh, has directed all district magistrates (DMs) to encourage farmers to make compost out of agricultural waste instead of burning it, in order to prevent air pollution.
Following directions from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), state chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar had on February 10, 2017, issued directions that farmers should be encouraged to make compost out of agricultural waste. Subsequently, the special secretary directed all DMs to ensure implementation of the order.
An NGT bench headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar had on December 10, 2015, directed Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to stop burning of paddy straw and other agriculture residue.
Farmers in northern states are known to burn agriculture residue, particularly after the paddy crop, to make way for sowing of wheat and other crops. The NGT had also ordered a fine of Rs2,500 to Rs15,000 on farmers found burning straw or agricultural waste.
“Since we do not have adequate government land in villages that can be used to make compost out of agricultural waste, we can dig pits in agricultural fields for this purpose. Pits can be constructed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). We should encourage farmers to scientifically dispose of agricultural waste in pits in compliance with the NGT order,” said Singh.
Greater-Noida based environmentalist Vikrant Tongad, whose petition in NGT had led to the order banning the burning of agricultural waste, said there is a dire need to educate farmers.
“Farmers do not understand that burning of agricultural waste is polluting the air on a large scale. The government order must be enforced strictly because it will also benefit farmers, who will get compost that makes the soil fertile,” said Tongad.
In Gautam Budh Nagar, agricultural activities thrive in Jewar and Dadri areas while Noida and Greater Noida do not have much agricultural land.
“We were already organising meetings with farmers to make them aware about the perils of straw burning. Now, after receiving this letter, we will again hold meetings in villages to enforce the order. As farmers do not dig pits, we will hire workers under MGNREGA to dig pits in agricultural lands for farmers,” said NP Singh, DM, Gautam Budh Nagar.